Getting your church communication essentials accomplished is critical. Why? Effective communication rises and falls on how well you know your audience. So, the necessary communication essentials for your church? Establish a foundation to know your audience!
Churches actually have two audiences: internal and external. Those who know you well (congregation) and those who need to know you more (community). Get to know them well. Fall in love with them!
Here are 4 foundational communication essentials that will help:
Make sure you have a list (that you can communicate with). You have a list, right? If not, start one! It should be a digital database of everyone in your audience. And as you meet new people, you must add their information to the database. Perhaps this is with a Church Management System (ChMS). Don’t have that or a database? Don’t worry. Just get started. A printed contact card or a website form are great starts for gathering information. Then decide how you’ll communicate. Email is probably the best (everyone has an email address plus it’s a push channel that doesn’t interrupt as much as texting). With email, it’s important to have a list containing their names (first and last name) and their email address in separate fields. An email system (or ChMS) is a great “keeper” of your list (Mailchimp, Constant Contact, or similar). These systems allow you to regularly email a list. Simply set up your database in the system (or import it), create an email template, then decide when you’ll regularly communicate. Be consistent!
Segment your list. Other fields you may also need in your database? It’s up to you. But don’t have a field unless you’ll use the information regularly. Keeping the list simple allows your contact form request to be shorter too — and your audience is more apt to fill it out. Then, use the fields to segment the list into groups that may benefit from different communication. Segments may be based on fields like: member, visitor, gender, age range, kids, etc. But be careful: you’ll need to gather the information so don’t go overboard!
Send out a segment-specific survey. Using the email system, send out a survey to segments. Don’t have an email system yet? Hand out a printed church communication essentials survey during a service taking time to have them fill it out. It’s that important! Ask members questions like: Is a weekly email the best way to contact you? Are you aware of most church events and ministries? Rate how well we do with communication (1-10). When was the last time you visited our website? For what? Are you willing to volunteer to help with our communication? If yes, do you have an area you’d like to help with (website, email, social media)? Your other (non-member) segments would need different questions based on their relationship with the church. IMPORTANT: Keep each survey short. You want people to give you the answers!
Adjust your communication strategy. Based on survey answers, create a strategy to get to know your audience and effectively communicate with them. Then create a team to help. It’s difficult to do alone!